Top 10 Spotlight: Valedictorian Daisy Paredes

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Most elementary school-age children enjoy relaxing in the summer, playing outdoor and indoor games, and spending time with their families.

Daisy Paredes did the same, but also spent free time studying and preparing for the upcoming school year.

“When I was younger in elementary school, my parents would tutor me during the summer for the next grade level,” said Daisy, daughter of Mario and Claudia Paredes. “I would always come to the next school year prepared. That really pushed me because it set me up academically.”

When each school year started, Daisy was already ahead of the curve. The payoff has been a No. 1 class ranking as Valedictorian of the Los Fresnos High School Class of 2017.

Preparation has been the key to Daisy’s success.

“You need to be prepare ahead of time if you want to be successful. You need to be ready and you need to keep working at it. Both of my parents were really smart, and they really motivated me. My parents wanted me to succeed, and of course I would want to make them proud.”

Daisy’s parents were hard workers growing up. “Their life was full of poverty growing up, and they taught me how to work hard. In my case, I worked hard academically.”

Her ambition to make her parents proud carried her through elementary school, but made a decision to strive her best on her own came at Los Cuates Middle School.

“When I was in middle school, I had not thought too much about my ranking until I was at an awards ceremony and I saw this guy who was No. 1 in the class. I thought it was really cool. He was really smart. I thought, ‘I could do that. I really want to do that.’  That was the moment when I decided to I really wanted to get this spot.”

Like many other students, Daisy’s first language was Spanish before attending elementary because her mother was from Mexico. “It really wasn’t difficult to learn English.”

She has worked hard to get achieve her goals. “I am the late-nighter. I stay up until about 1 a.m. most nights and wake up just in time to get to school. That’s just how I work.”

She was a member of the cross-country team during her freshman and sophomore years, which meant 6 a.m. practices.

“It was hard when I was in cross-country. I stopped because I wasn’t getting enough sleep with early-morning practice.”

Daisy was also a member of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), and competed in state four years in the Human Growth and Development category.

“HOSA was really good for me,” she said. “You meet people who are a lot smarter than you. You realize that you’re a little fish in the big pond. That made me want to stay in the medical field.There’s a lot more to learn and a lot more you can become better at.”

She plans to major in Medical Humanities, which is part of the pre-medical program, at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She is receiving the UTSA Top Scholar scholarship, which will cover all expenses in her undergraduate program.

“UTSA feels like home. It might be a big city, but it feels small. I didn’t want to leave the state of Texas. I had no inclinations to go out of state.

“What draws me toward the medical field is give and take. Sometimes you’re giving people life. You’re giving them another chance to experience more things. You’re getting fulfillment in return. You’re going in with that knowledge that you helped somebody and made somebody feel better. It’s an exchange. I really like that.”

She plans to attend medical school after UTSA, and possibly become a physician in the San Antonio area.

Her hard work paid off with the top honor in the class. She is thankful for the preparation provided by her teachers.

“I feel like our school district really tries to take care of us and prepare us,” Daisy said. “I don’t think there is such a thing that making us work too hard because, in the end, we’re still kids. We’re going to be lazy. We need somebody to push us, because later we will regret it if we weren’t pushed. This is crunch time. You need to try your best right now because it affects the rest of your life.”

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